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Helping people

Carers in Germany: why Ukrainian Kateryna Nenzhentseva took the daring step of starting a new life seven years ago.

Clara Krug, 30.05.2022
Intensive-care nurse Kateryna Nenzhentseva
Intensive-care nurse Kateryna Nenzhentseva © picture alliance/dpa

"My ward is usually very busy. I'm an intensive-care nurse in the Chest Pain Unit at Lukas Hospital, Neuss, which specializes, for example, in heart-attack patients. Acute emergency situations are part of my everyday work routine. In such situations, it's important to keep calm and rely on your experience.

Language and recognition

I've been working in Germany for seven years now. In my Ukrainian home town of Kharkiv, I was employed as an intensive-care nurse for 17 years. Because of my love for a German man, I decided to come to Germany in 2014. I brought my son with me; he was 13 years old at the time. I had imagined a new start in Germany would be slightly easier. My biggest problem was my lack of language skills. While I was still in Kharkiv, I had learned German for several months with a private tutor. I didn't have time for another language course in Germany because I first did a nine-month internship and worked in various hospital wards to get my Ukrainian vocational training recognized. I improved my German with Youtube videos. My then-boyfriend helped me with the formalities, and my kind colleagues supported me in all professional matters. My employer, Lukas Hospital, was an important help at all times. Hospitals in Germany work with different computer systems and sometimes administer different medications from the ones I knew in Ukraine – and I had to learn all that first. But I really wanted to make it; I was determined and today I'm very proud that everything worked out.

Support for Ukrainian refugees

Of course, working in a hospital under pandemic conditions is much more demanding than usual. However, the situation in Ukraine is much more distressing for me at the moment. Most of my family are still in Karkhiv, which has been hard hit. It's terrible situation; I feel guilty living in a country where there is peace while my family and friends are struggling to survive. In my free time, I support Ukrainians who have fled to Germany. I help them with formalities, translate, show them important sources of information, look for accommodation, collect clothes and other things they need. I became a nurse because I like helping people. That's also something I really appreciate about Germany: the country thinks of the people, it's a social country with the corresponding structures."


Kateryna Nenzhentseva, 44, is an intensive-care nurse at Lukas Hospital in Neuss.


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